LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Yom Kippur, the holiest and most somber day on the Jewish calendar, ends at sundown today, concluding the 10-day period known as Days of Teshuvah, which is variously translated as repentance, return and change.
According to Jewish tradition, Yom Kippur is the day on which Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the second set of commandment tablets -- he had smashed the first -- and announced God's pardon to the people for worshipping a golden calf.
Observant Jews believe God inscribes the names of the righteous in the Book of Life on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and seals the book on Yom Kippur, 10 days later. For that reason, the traditional greeting among Jews on Yom Kippur is Gemar Chatima Tova, which means ``good final sealing'' and conveys the wish: ``May your name be sealed in the book of life.'' The last service of Yom Kippur ends with the sounding of a ram's horn called a shofar.
Many Jews fast on Yom Kippur and spend much of the time in synagogues.
``Yom Kippur is the gift of a new beginning -- a chance to forgive ourselves and one another for mistakes, make peace with the past, and turn the page to a hopeful new chapter,'' said Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles' first elected Jewish mayor.
``The final moments of this sacred week are an opportunity to make a full turn toward the future and commit to living our best lives in the year ahead.''
Said Republican National Committee Co-Chair Bob Paduchik: ``On Yom Kippur, we join all those of the Jewish faith in praying for a bright and peaceful year ahead. We remind ourselves to be thankful for our blessings and compassionate toward the people in our lives.'
While most congregations require membership and tickets for High Holy Days services, options for nonaffiliated Jews include a service that will be televised.
Jewish Life Television, which can be viewed on DirecTV's Channel 366, will carry the service conducted by Rabbi David Baron of the Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts at the Saban Theatre at 9 a.m. and noon.
The Chai Center will hold a service from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Writers Guild Theater at 135 S. Doheny Drive in Beverly Hills. Reservations are not required. Donations are encouraged.
The Chai Center describes itself as ``a very nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the Jewish community of Greater Los Angeles'' with such events as a ``Dinner for 60 Strangers'' each Friday evening, classes on a variety of topics of Judaism and singles parties ``for Conservative, Reform, non-affiliates and any Jew that moves.''